Top Reads

December Top 5

How To Grow The Purpose-Driven Workforce
4 steps to creating a workforce that is devoted to making an impact.

Design For The Outcome You Want
When you design your business for the outcomes you want, you not only get them, but your customers and your teams thank you for lighting the way.

9 Things That Make Good Employees Quit
Few things are as costly and disruptive as good people walking out the door. Here's how to make it stop.

Read This Google Email About Time Management Strategy
A Google employee teaches his colleagues how to block out interruptions and set aside "make time."

The One Thing You Should Be Doing At The Beginning Of Every Meeting
In some workplaces, scheduling time for small talk can save lives. But with all teams, that act of building trust is crucial.

November Top 5 Reads

5 Habits Of Truly Disruptive Leaders
Disruption and leadership might seem opposing forces. Here's how the best leaders reconcile the two.

The One Thing Managers Aren't Doing That Could Cost Them Employees
Four reasons you should have career discussions with your employees.

5 Traits Every Young Leader Needs to Be Successful
The key to success for young leaders is not to focus, but to say “yes.” Yes to diverse opportunities, roles, and tasks. Research demonstrates that younger leaders need broad experience in order to develop their strengths, judgment, character, and identify their calling. That’s just one of five ways young leaders need to develop.

Do Your Actions And Story Align?
Everything, from the words you use in an automated email, to color of your packaging is your brand story. Every detail needs to be consistent with the story you want your customers to hear and believe.

Prepare, Plan, then Pivot
So what is core to the way your company does business? How does that inform how you plan? What are those most important things for your business to accomplish next year? And most importantly, what’s needed to do each of them? If you get specific with yourself, you’ve just given yourself the best chance at a successful year to come.

October Top 5 Reads

How To Turn Your Good Ideas Into Great Questions
Despite the popularity of brainstorming in meetings, sharing ideas doesn’t often lead to a creative discussion. Asking questions does. Here’s a technique to turn your good ideas into great questions.

How Steve Jobs Ran His Legendary Meetings
An inside look at a series of meetings led by the most famous entrepreneur of our generation.

The Three Biggest Differences Between Being Busy And Being Productive
Here's how to figure out if you're super productive or just needlessly busy.

Before You Pitch
Before you try to make yourself understood, you need to work out why the person you are pitching to will care about what you have to say.

Who Is This Not For?
When we spend time thinking about growing our businesses we tend to focus on our ideal customers—the people we know we want to matter to. A great way to get really specific about who you are creating your products and services for is to think about who they are not for.

August Top 5

Why You Need A Personal Code And How to Create One
Our values should cost us something.  There are plenty of projects I won’t get involved in because I’d have to compromise my values. And yet, the more I live into these values, the more clarity I have in life and the more I get done.

8 Personality Types And How To Manage Them
Getting the most out of everyone on your team can be a challenge. This can help.

How Much Is Enough?
Last week I had knee surgery. It’s still swollen like a softball even when I keep it propped up over my head. It’s hard to work in this position. I’ve gotten some things done, but looking at my work load, I’m wrestling with the question: How much is enough?

The Difference Between Strategy And Tactics And Why You Need To Know
When it comes to business we spend a lot of our time working on the tactics.
We agonise for weeks over perfect taglines, choosing logo designs and installing fixtures, often without fully understanding if and how those tactics (the things we spend most of our time doing), are helping us to get where we want to go.

One Thing I Do Every Day That Helps Me Say No
Every day at the bottom of my personal planner, I write this phrase: “I exist to help people and institutions discover, live and communicate a better story to the world.”  Simply writing this sentence everyday keeps me on track.

June Top 5

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Why Managers Should Stop Focusing On Their Best Employees
It's tempting to spend your energy on your A-players, but it's more worth your time to build up the rest of your team.

The Difference Between an Ordinary Life and an Extraordinary One
I used to think ordinary lives were the low-key, under-the-radar, stay-at-home kind of lives and the extraordinary ones were the ones filled with travel and people and crazy adventure.  I’m learning to see that the dividing line I thought I saw between those lives isn’t really there.

How To Get Things Done: 4 Levels of Productivity
Real productivity is not doing more, more efficiently. But it begins there. We need to develop personal disciplines of working efficiently. But efficiency only takes us so far. I’ve noticed that those who get things done practice 4 levels of personal productivity.

4 Ways To Bring The Best Out Of Your Employees
A great leader knows their business's most valuable asset is its people. Here's how to drive the growth of your company's human capital.

A Survival Guide For Managing Difficult People
They're sarcastic, cynical, and negative, but you don't want to fire them. Hope and help for managing people who drive you nuts.

April Top 10

How To Build Conversations That Create Innovative Ideas
The best way to inspire innovative thinking isn't to force a brainstorming session, it's to create an ongoing conversation. Here's how.

When Difficulty Feels Discouraging, Remember This
In an age where we are taught through commercialism there should be no struggles in life that the purchasing of a product won’t relieve, the Bible is incompatible. But the age of commercialism has let us down.

How To Make Friday The Most Productive Day Of The Week
Handled right, Fridays are a chance to invest in activities that pay dividends the rest of the week.

The Secrets To Building A Team Of Decision Makers
Make better decision-makers out of your team by giving them the freedom to be themselves.

4 Strategies To Master The Art Of Delegation
It's one of the toughest things for a founder to do: master the art of letting go.

Micromanagement is Underrated
My challenge, and that of every other leader who occasionally participates in abdication management, is to be more consistent in the way I manage, and not let it be determined by my level of interest, energy or curiosity.

Re-imagining Your Business Growth Mindset
What would the world look like if you spent all of your time, effort and money on delighting the customers you have?

The Hidden Costs Of Interruptions At Work
What all those "Got a minute?" interruptions cost in loss of job satisfaction and productivity may surprise you.

How To Develop Young Leaders: The Little-Much Principle
Leader development is about going in before going out. The Little-Much Principle will help you develop young (and old) leaders.

How To Get People To Disagree With Your Ideas
If your team isn't challenging your ideas, you might have a "yes-person" problem. Here's why it's valuable to get people to question you.

March Top 10

How You Can Get Your Best Employees To Stay
For most people moving up means moving on, so how can you get someone who is getting outside offers to stick around?

Why You Should Never Cancel Your One-On-One Meetings
Those personally tailored meetings take up a lot of time. But if you cut them, your work life will likely get more chaotic.

Stop Obsessing Over Employee Loyalty And Focus On This Instead
Leadership boils down to arranging circumstances for people so that they may flourish, and, in turn, the organization may flourish.

How To Follow Your True Calling, Not Someone Else’s
You bring something needed to the world. Be who you were created to be, not what you or others wish you were. The more skillfully and graciously you live out your calling, the more others will hear your song and recognize its beauty too.

5 Simple Things Super Productive People Do on Monday
Monday can be hard, but a little discipline can make it the best day of the week. Here is how successful people start things off.

How To Work With Anyone's Productivity Style
People have one of four different productivity styles. Never have a work conflict again by getting to know how to communicate with each one.

5 Fake-Productive Things You're Doing That Are A Waste Of Time
You're not as busy as you think you are. Chances are you're wasting your time with these behaviors. Here's how to reclaim your day.

The Difference Between A Pitch And A Brand Story
A brand story is not told it is lived. Your brand story is communicated in the values your company stands for, how your staff greet customers, that hurried email you sent, in your website design and product packaging. Anything that the customer touches or that touches the customer is your brand story.

What We Value And Reward Defines Us
Our beliefs and behaviours define our cultures. What we value becomes more valued. What is reinforced drives everything we do, how we show up and who becomes our customer. Above all else this is what shapes our story and no marketing whitewash can stop that being reflected to the outside world.

How To Get People Into Action With One Simple Question
One of the toughest things in leadership is getting people into action. I discovered one simple, yet profound, question that motivates people to get into action.

February Top 10 Reads

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How To Spot Future Leaders
If you're looking for the next generation of leaders, seek out these seven types.

How One Simple Change Can Make You A Better Listener
It sounds easy, but it's surprisingly hard for most of us: To become a better listener, stop focusing on what you'll say next.

4 Ways Businesses Can Do More With Less Resources
Thinking inside the box and not resisting constraints could actually be the key to an innovative company.

The Power Of The Minimum Viable Experience
When we think about delivering the optimum customer experience we strive to create a scenario that meets the customer’s wants, often forgetting that what the customer wants is more than a cab that takes her from A to B, a computer that works, or a human being that picks up the phone right away. There are so many opportunities to create intangible value and subtle expectations that we can fulfil by being more empathetic and without spending a cent.

The Shocking Mistake I Made About Time and Money
If you want breakthrough, to really multiply your impact, not to just double but go 10x or 100x, then you’ve got to change your mindset regarding time and money. The problem is we commonly view time as flexible and money as fixed, when it is actually the opposite! A time-rich, money-poor mentality holds us back, and keeps us from fully living out our calling. 

To Advance in Career and Life, Act Like a Beginner
To break free from the shackles of the past and to take your game to the next level, approach your challenges like they're new to you.

How To Use Criticism To Build Stronger Working Relationships
It's not enough to simply tell someone they need to improve. Here's how to give feedback that builds people up.

You’re Never Going to Be Fully Ready
No one has every last thing they need. But the people who change their lives, the people who make beautiful things, the people who make a difference in our world—they are the people who paddle, who are willing to do it badly, who give up perfect in favor of good.

Great Parents Do This Well
I’ve noticed something about the parents of teens and twenty-somethings who are high functioning and healthy. I’m talking about young adults who you sit and talk to and wonder how they got so wise, self-controlled and winsome. I’ve noticed they all have parents who have a distinct, unique, and rare quality about them.  It’s not a quality you’d expect, but I promise it’s the common denominator. And here it is: Healthy and high-functioning people often have parents who do not hide their flaws, especially from their own children.

The jerk Factor
Now, when I spell jerk with a small letter “j”, I’m referring to someone who is willing to say or do something that pushes a peer or subordinate far out of their comfort zones in order to make them or the team better.  This often comes in the form of a pointed comment during a meeting, or a dose of tough love delivered one-on-one.  For a few minutes, hours or even days, jerks may be unappreciated, even resented by the people who are on the receiving end of their input, until those people come to the realization that what the jerk said or did was exactly what was needed. 

January Top 10 Reads

The Formula To Better Problem Solving
The "Five Whys" process will help you get to the root of any problem, and make everyone feel understood and included.

The Importance Of Creating A Culture Of Why
Asking "why" can help bring greater innovation and avoid disaster, but first we need to reframe the way we think about it.

The Battle For Your Customer’s Mind
The answer to increasing sales isn’t to work harder to convince people of your advantages, it’s to help them to understand who they could become in the presence of your product.

Sorry: Easy To Say, Not So Easy To Do
Businesses have teams of people who can respond to complaints and fewer who are held accountable for fixing things. Sorry in isolation does not constitute an apology. Every apology has two parts. The admission that something went wrong, followed by the action taken that will mean it doesn’t happen again.

20 Tips for Getting More Done Every Day
One resolution on every entrepreneur's list, year after year, is to be more productive. So why is it so hard to actually get more done?

How a Mission-Oriented Company Can Also Turn a Profit
If you want to effect change in the world--without going bankrupt in the process--here are a few rules to follow.

4 Strategies To Change Your Habits That Actually Work
Gretchen Rubin dug through the research on habit change to find what it really takes to make a fresh start.

3 Things Your Business Should Stop Doing in 2015
Does your business run the same now as it did five years ago or even at the start of 2014? Stop and innovate the way you do your work, or be left behind.

6 Ways Businesses Need to Think Like Nonprofits
For 25 years, I’ve worked with nonprofit organizations. I’ve applied a lot of business principles to nonprofits. These days, I realize that nonprofits have a lot to teach businesses too. Here are 6 ways businesses can learn from nonprofits about purpose, marketing the intangible, and employee engagement.

10 Brand Storytelling Lessons In 2 Minutes
It’s so much easier to adopt default thinking and lead by telling people what we do—which is why most businesses do it. But you are not most businesses.  Your customers are waiting for you to give them something to believe in and to take them where they want to go.

December Top 10 Reads

Why You Shouldn't Worry About Being Smart
The most successful companies focus on being healthy rather than intelligent.

Peace, Discipline and Teamwork
All people want the same thing in life: peace.  Not happiness, which is an unsustainable and fickle emotion, but rather peace, which is the deep understanding that all is well, even when happiness is not possible.  And we all know when we have lost our peace; it’s when we feel fear, anxiety, angst or dread.  As much as those feelings are painful, they are actually blessings if we respond to them correctly. 

In Defense Of Disconnecting From Work After Hours
Spending time recovering from the work week is as important as recovering from a workout: Try to skip rest and you'll hurt yourself.

The First Step To Building A Marketing Campaign
The key is not to see marketing as ‘a campaign’ that starts and ends, or as part of a process that you’re getting through, but to think of your marketing (and your product) as a love note that makes an emotional connection with your customer.

Why Energy Management Matters More Than Time Management
As we all try to squeeze more hours from the day, time management may not be the answer. Managing our energy will make us more productive.

The Not-So Surprising Secrets To Getting Millennials To Stay At Their Jobs
Balance, pay, mentorship: these factors could be part of the formula that makes young workers stick around.

Are You Open to Getting More Sales?
Isn’t it curious that sales, the lifeblood of every small business, is so damn hard to get right? You started your business because you believed you could make or do something that other people wanted, but then you struggle to find a way to talk about it with them so they’re moved to say, “How can I get some of that?” You want so badly to connect with prospective customers. You want so sincerely to experience your salespeople connecting with them. And, it hardly ever feels like there’s enough connection going on, enough excitement about the product or service you’re so invested in, enough prospects turning into customers.

The New Habit Challenge: Give Your Day A Theme To Stay Focused
Distractions at work happen. But what if we can bounce back faster by devoting each day to specific tasks? Square's CEO thinks we can.

If You’re Rushing, Something is Wrong
Of course there are plenty of great reasons in life to rush. If you’re an ER doctor or a professional ping-pong player, rushing seems appropriate. But in most endeavors, feeling a constant sense of urgency and panic means somebody hasn’t done his or her job. And that somebody is most likely the person who is making everybody else rush around.

You Should Give Yourself a Little More Grace
Have you ever tried to quit a bad habit but went right back after the first relapse? Let’s say you’re quitting caffeine, then a bleary day hits and you have that one cup of coffee, only to go right back to the old habit. It’s almost as though that first slip up lets go the flood.  I used to be all or nothing about stuff like this but I recently had a conversation with Bill Lokey who helped me understand relapses are part of the process of changing a behavior.

November Top 10 Reads

You Can’t Be a Great Manager If You’re Not a Good Coach
If you have room in your head for only one nugget of leadership wisdom, make it this one: the most powerfully motivating condition people experience at work is making progress at something that is personally meaningful. If your job involves leading others, the implications are clear: the most important thing you can do each day is to help your team members experience progress at meaningful work.

Why Your Realistic Goals Are Holding You Back
Thinking bigger really is better. Why there's more competition for small goals and how 10 times improvement is easier than 10%.

How Showing Vulnerability Makes You A Better Leader
What you may think is a weakness can actually be a sign of strength. Why showing you're human can actually help your career.

How To Begin Developing A Product Story
We like to believe that our product story begins with the customer’s relationship to the product, when in actual fact what the customer is focused on is his relationship to himself (in the presence of the product). When he asks himself (or you), “How is this better?” what he really wants to know is, “How does this make me better?”

Are Your Shortcuts Actually Saving You Time?
Next time you find yourself taking a shortcut, buying in bulk or rushing through life, ask what it’s going to afford you. Are you really going to use that saved time as accountability to do something life giving or are you just piling more on and wearing yourself out?

How Healthy Is Your Small Business?
Perhaps you use Google Analytics to track every visitor to your website, right down to the country they’re visiting from. Maybe you even use wearable technology and a smartphone to measure the steps you take in a day or how much sleep you get at night. But what are you doing to measure the financial health of your business? If your only measure of financial performance is the revenue you generate each month or the balance in your bank account, you’re missing out on a wealth of information about your business.

Promoting the Non-Obvious Candidate
Conventional talent-management systems emphasize the need to give high performers appropriate experiences to help them ascend to more senior levels of management. Companies define career paths accordingly and carefully map, often in a linear fashion, the various roles one has to fill to reach higher management ranks.  However, in addition to grooming obvious high performers who are accomplished in a particular domain, talent-management systems should also deliberately look at non-obvious candidates. They are high performers in other domains who do not automatically fit the bill.

The Two Approaches To Marketing
All marketing uses two basic approaches. When I was growing up and maybe when you were too, marketers used ‘The Influence Method’.

Looking for the Perfect Customer? Look No Further.
It’s never been easier to chase after the wrong customers. With the explosion of online marketing tools, you and your team can spend all day (and all night) doing it. Which is why it’s never been more important that you have something—or more specifically, someone—to guide you. The challenge for today’s business owner is to get to know your customer in far deeper ways than you’ve ever done before.

Is Marketing Automation the Silver Bullet You're Looking For?
There are a lot of things marketing automation software can do for you. It can help you increase traffic, educate and inspire potential customers, and give you a microscopic view of what happens at every step of your buyer’s journey.  But like all good things, it’s not quite that simple. It takes a real investment of time, attention and money. It won’t create content for you. And it won’t tell you who your real buyers are. In short, you can get a lot out of it—but only if you put the right things into it first.

October Top 10

If Your Company Culture Could Talk, What Would It Say?
Would you apply for a job at your business? Think about it for a moment. With where you are in your life—with your unique talents and dreams—is it the kind of place that would support you in getting closer to the life you want? Do you think you have any employees who aren’t evaluating their jobs, right this very minute, on that criteria?

How To Communicate Your Difference
There is a place where many entrepreneurs, (maybe you) and even global corporations who look like they have got it all together, (maybe yours), get stuck when trying to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. They hit a wall when they begin to articulate what’s unique about what they do and why it should matter to their customers. The reason they get stuck is because they’re starting in the wrong place—by trying to find the words before they work on the understanding.

How to Tell a Great Story
We tell stories to our coworkers and peers all the time — to persuade someone to support our project, to explain to an employee how he might improve, or to inspire a team that is facing challenges. It’s an essential skill, but what makes a compelling story in a business context? And how can you improve your ability to tell stories that persuade?

9 Different Definitions On The Meaning Of Work-Life Balance
What does "balance" mean, and can we ever have it? Entrepreneurs who've made their work their lives weigh in.

4 Tiny Tweaks To Make Meetings Vastly More Productive
The woman who spends her whole day observing other companies' meetings shares how you can make your meetings worth attending.

What to Do If Your Team Is in a Rut
Another brainstorming session, another slew of tired ideas. Your team is in a rut, but what can you do about it? How can you push everyone to be more creative? Where should you seek inspiration? What’s the best way to bring in new perspectives? And finally: how do you prevent the group from getting stuck again?

How To Find Solitude In An Era Of Constant Connection
Have we lost the ability to sit quietly, alone with our thoughts? Here's why we need to get that quietness back.

The Misleading Advantage
They had a chance to leverage the loyalty of regulars who they mistakenly treated like tourists who would never be back. So the people who were loyal to them for three years have switched—just like that. It turns out that when we have an option we will always choose how something feels, before we choose how it tastes, looks or works.

Efficiency, Quality, Value And Soul
A new public hospital is opening in Perth this week and along with cutting edge medical facilities patients can expect state-of-the-art “free-roaming food delivery robots.”  The theory being that quality will be improved if the time between cooking and delivery is reduced.  The system is efficient and if the temperature of the meal when it reaches the patient is the measure of quality then this high tech solution wins—but do absolute improvements in quality always increase value?

Do It Now: Change the Toilet Paper Roll and 19 Other Things to Boost Your Productivity
We are really good at putting things off until later. Some things, like changing the toilet paper roll, are better done now. Leaders who Do It Now at work and at home have more focus and greater productivity.

September Top 10

Why Your Best Employees Are Leaving, And How To Stop Them
Turnover rates are rising. How can you keep the economy from stealing away your best people?

The Importance Of Ritual To The Creative Process
Inspiration seems spontaneous and boundless on the outside, but practice makes perfect for creativity, too.

4 Ways Leaders Can Create A Candid Culture
When leaders want to create an open culture where people are willing to speak up and challenge one another, they often start by listening. This is a good instinct. But listening with your ears will only take you so far. You also need to demonstrate with words that you truly want people to raise risky issues.

The Best Leaders Are Insatiable Learners
It takes a real sense of personal commitment, especially after you’ve arrived at a position of power and responsibility, to push yourself to grow and challenge conventional wisdom. Which is why two of the most important questions leaders face are as simple as they are profound: Are you learning, as an organization and as an individual, as fast as the world is changing? Are you as determined to stay interested as to be interesting? Remember, it’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.

How To Beat The 10,000-Hour Rule
Forget taking shortcuts. No one ever changed the world by cutting corners. Here's the case for taking "smartcuts" instead.

The Danger Of Messing With A Good Business Strategy
Trying to fix something that's not broken could cost your company heavily in the long run.

The Traits That Lead To Success—And How To Tell Who's Got Them
Being a good leader often means approaching situations with a rookie mindset. Here's how to tell if you are up to the challenge.

3 Ways To Trick Yourself Into Feeling Less Busy
Is busy only a state of mind?

1 Incredibly Simple Way to Stand Out From the Crowd
You'll be surprised by the research on how few of us keep this mind—and character—improving habit, and how much of an impact it can have.

How To Make Your Small Business Blog Really Shine
Is your blog getting you down? Do you wonder whether it’s worth all the effort, whether people are really getting something from it, whether you’re “doing it right”? Maybe you think you’re not a writer, or you simply feel like you don’t have the time to write with all the other demands of your small business.

August Top 10

1. 6 Ways Your Brain Tries To Kill Your Ideas And How To Fight Them
These common excuses for stalled creativity hit close to home, but at their core, they're pretty weak.

2. 3 Types of Dysfunctional Teams And How to Fix Them
Is your workplace a battlefield, a love-in, or does it barely function? Leaders can save these teams by instilling a healthy community.

3. 5 Factors That Separate Great Teams From Good Ones
What traits do winning teams like the German 2014 World Cup champs, or Facebook's execs have in common?  How does your team compare?

4. 70% Of Your Time At Work Is Wasted--How To Change That
Streamline time-sucks, like email, meetings and task-running, to get your time back.

5. How to Spend the First 10 Minutes of Your Day
What's the first thing you do when you get to your desk? Check email and listen to voicemails? This is the worst way to start the workday. Instead of automatically going into reactive mode and focusing on other people's priorities, begin your day with a brief planning session about what you need to get done. 

6. How to Manage Culture During a Pivot
Considering a shift in your strategy? Here's a quick primer on how to make sure your organization makes it with you.

7. The People Have Spoken: It's Time To Start Trusting Your Employees More
There are steps you can take to steer employees back from disengagement, but it takes a genuine commitment from the top.

8. How To Figure Out Your Most Productive Time Of Day
When your days already feel jam-packed, how can you afford to experiment with productivity? Get to the bottom of time-wasting habits.

9. Three Ways to Actually Engage Employees
If you can increase the level of engagement in your organization, you'll likely see the productivity of your workforce rise, too. And almost any organization can foster greater engagement if leaders: talk about the company’s impact, reward inspirational leadership, and measure employee advocacy.

10. Do You Own Your Failures More Than Your Successes?
Do you own your failures? And if you own your failures, and not your accomplishments, why? Does God want you to disregard the memory of the things you’ve done well?

July Top 10

1. 4 Things Employees Need to Boost Productivity
A study of 19,000 employees from a wide range of industries reveal that if your company meets just one of these core needs your employees will be more engaged, productive, and bring in more money. But if you meet all four...

2. 5 Powerful SEO and Content Marketing Techniques that Took My Website to 320k Visitors Per Month
I was looking at the traffic for my swimming pool website today and a smile came to my face as I saw we had annihilated our previous traffic records for a single month by reaching over 320,000 visitors to the site during the month of June. As I sat and pondered these numbers, I was brought back to thinking about the different ways we were able to achieve this incredible growth, and what exactly this means for other businesses looking to achieve the same.

3. How To Know When It's Time To Fire Someone
Here's how to figure out if your employees are worth giving a second chance.

4. Bye-Bye Brainteasers: 9 Interview Questions You Actually Should Ask Candidates
When you're interviewing people to join your team, you have to get creative somehow. There's only so much that questions like "What was the last book you read?" and "Where do you see yourself in five years?" reveal about who your candidates truly are as professionals and as people.  To help give you some ideas for the next time you're screening candidates, here are nine interview questions you should ask.

5. How to Override Your Default Reactions in Tough Moments
“It’s 9:00am, you’re across the table from a colleague who doesn’t like you or the changes you’re proposing, she’s pushing all your hot-buttons and resisting your efforts to get her to support the change. What’s your typical reaction?”

6. 3 Simple Ways To Tell A Better Brand Story
Brand storytelling is complex. A brand story evolves over time and is a result of doing many things well. But there are still opportunities to start telling a better story in the short term.  Here are three things you can do today to improve your brand story.

7. 9 Work Habits You Need to Stop Today
Author Tim Ferriss suggests some common bad habits you should definitely add to your not-to-do list.

8. 3 Questions Executives Should Ask Front-Line Workers
The higher up you go in an organization, the harder it is to stay in touch with what’s really happening on the front lines.  And the bad news—if you hear it at all—is presented only in the best possible light.  How do you get the real truth about what’s happening out in the field?  How do you stay connected to all corners of your organization?  I have found that three simple questions, asked with the intent to learn, can help you stay in touch with reality and be a better leader.

9. Ready, Aim, Fire
Take the ready, aim, fire diagnostic to yourself and your team. Talk about it for each leader, and/or for the team as a whole. Find where you, the team, or the organization has a weakness in these areas, and address it, either through people or processes. That way, your mission won't be unprepared to win, too scattered to know who it is, or too paralyzed to move

10. How To Get More Done By Having Less To Do
If your life feels like a constant game of tug-of-war, then it's time to pare your existence down to its essentials.

June Top 10

1.  Reformed Workaholic On How to Work Smarter
Instead of fighting the workaholic spirit, make a plan to work smarter.

2. Stress Isn’t a Threat, It’s a Signal to Change
Is stress impairing your performance at work and compromising your relationships? Changing the way you think about stress can help you turn stress into an ally and use it to improve mental agility and work performance; a report in the Journal of Experimental Psychology showed that physiological and cognitive benefits result from thinking of stress as “functional and adaptive” rather than a signifier of “threat.”

3. 5 Skills of Really Amazing Listeners
Everyone wants to be heard. But not everyone knows how to truly listen. Here's how amazing listeners use those odd things on the sides of their heads.

4. 5 Ways To Make Fewer Decisions
Make fewer decisions, so you can focus on the ones that matter.

5. Why 'Underpromise and Overdeliver' Is Terrible Advice
According to new research, there's no payoff in going above and beyond.

6. 5 Ways to Focus Your Mind and Maximize Productivity
It only takes a few distractions to eat up half of your workday. Here are 5 ways to focus.

7. The Best Hires Are Right Under Your Nose--Use This System to Never Miss Them Again
Early in your company's life, you can't afford to waste time or effort on chasing the wrong people. Go the extra mile with these tips for being your own headhunter.

8. 8 Steps to Interview Anyone for Any Job
Here's how to conduct a job interview that allows you to hire the best people--versus just the best people you know.

9. How To Learn To Delegate Without Giving Up All Your Control
You aren't helping anyone when you try to do everything yourself. Giving up control can feel scary, but it's easier if you create a good system.

10. Pick One Thing
The secret of all great companies (big and small) is that they choose. They understand how they create value and they do it on purpose, with intention.

May Top 10

1. Conservation of Energy

Have you noticed this about Jesus’ way?  Intensity is no doubt a weapon in His arsenal.  It wasn’t a soft and passive man that braided a whip from rawhide and created pandemonium in the synagogue, turning tables and sending animals fleeing and money flying (Matthew 21:12). But intensity wasn’t His only weapon. It’s amazing how often He slips away to rest, heal, be alone, be restored (Mark 1:35).  It’s amazing how often He leaves the scene with need at His doorstep, leaving people wanting.


2. From Purpose to Impact

What creates the greatest leaders and companies? Each of them operates from a slightly different set of assumptions about the world, their industry, what can or can’t be done. That individual perspective allows them to create great value and have significant impact. They all operate with a unique leadership purpose. To be a truly effective leader, you must do the same. Clarify your purpose, and put it to work.


3. Great Branding Is Invisible

The thumpf of a BMW's door closing, the muted click of calculator buttons, a human on the phone. It hooks you in.


4. Surprising Things You Never Considered About Your Company's Reputation

You probably know that a good reputation can work to your business's advantage, but here's a few factors you might not have considered.


5. How Do I Avoid Being A Micromanager?

You need to make sure things get accomplished but you don't want to be the boss that everyone hates--the dreaded micromanager. Leadership coach Lolly Daskal and Psychologist Art Markman offer their advice in how to balance this tricky situation.


6. Why Work-Life Integration Trumps Work-Life Balance

One CEO makes the case for why integrating work into your life--and vice versa--is the future of the working world.


7. Are You Destined to Be a Great Leader?

Some people just have that "it" factor. Here are five things every born leader does every day.


8. 7 Things Great Leaders Always Do (But Mere Managers Always Fear)

Are you a great leader or just a mere manager? Here's how to tell the difference.


9. The Art Of The Pivot: 6 Ways To Make A Big Change

How do you reinvent your company or yourself without dinging your credibility? Here are the moves that make up a successful pivot.


10. Blogging Didn’t Save My Business. Neither Did Content Marketing.

From now until the end of the internet (and well beyond that), the businesses that see themselves as teachers and problem solvers, and then take the time to tell the world what they know, are going to earn the most trust and ultimately the most business.

April Top 10

1. Find Your Passion With These 8 Thought-Provoking Questions

Warren Berger, author of A More Beautiful Question, collected the provocative questions top designers, tech innovators, and entrepreneurs ask themselves to spark creativity.


2. Here's Why Conflict is Actually Good for Business

Workplace disagreements and squabbles aren't just inevitable, turns out--they can also help your business.


3. Welcome To The Purpose Economy

How can we create an entire economy geared toward good? Focusing on personal, social, and societal purpose.


4. The Difference Between What You "Should" Do And What You "Must" Do

If you aren't doing what you love, it's time to examine your ideas about calling, career, and how to chase both toward success.


5. Stop Being So Nice. It's Hurting Your Company

As much as you may want to be liked, when it comes to dealing with underperforming employees and other sticky business situations, you need to be firm and decisive.


6. The Benefits of Being Managed

I’m certainly not suggesting that a leader abdicate responsibility for running his or her organization. And I’m not advocating some sort of democratic structure of checks and balances that limits the authority of a CEO. That’s the purpose of a board of directors. What I’m talking about is leaders knowing that there are times and situations in which they should be accountable, even subordinate, to the people they lead.


7. Why Incentives Don't Actually Motivate People to Do Better Work

As it turns out, workplace incentives don't necessarily create harder working employees.


8. How To Create A Workplace People Love Coming To

Glassdoor recently announced their sixth annual Employees' Choice Awards, which uses employee ratings to determine the top 50 places to work. Here's how to create a workplace your people will love to be in--and want to work hard for.


9. How to Talk to Your Employees About Compensation

Discussing pay can be uncomfortable. Here's how to make the conversation easier and more productive.


10. The Compelling Case for Giving Employees More Freedom

Allowing employees more room to roam makes them happier and more productive. Here's how it worked for one 10,000-person company.

Click Here to view SummitTrek's 2014 Top Reads digital magazine (articles added monthly) via Flipboard on your computer, tablet or smartphone (iOS or Android).  Don't forget to hit Subscribe (upper left corner) once you open the magazine on your tablet or smartphone.

March Top 10 Reads

1. Management Tips From A Boss Who Actually Gives A Damn

Listening to your people--and following up on what you hear with empathy--could be the key to leadership success.


2. 3 Ways To Handle Criticism Like A Pro--And Actually Grow From It

Be Smart about the way you ask for feedback and you'll quickly realize you can't live or learn without it.  Here's how to ask the right questions and get the answers you need.


3. 8 Easy Ways to Be an Extraordinary Boss

High-class leadership means doing both the little and the big things necessary for your employees to flourish. Here's where to start.


4. How To Combat A Ridiculous Work Schedule And Stop Feeling So Overwhelmed

What's mental breathing space? Exactly what you're missing.


5. How to Masterfully Explain Online Why Your Stuff Costs So Much

Embrace the subject of pricing. Whether it’s digital or in a face-to-face conversation, you’ve got to change the way you talk about this subject if you want to overcome the concerns of your prospect and earn their business. And like Tom BIHN, embrace who you are. Embrace what makes you special.

6. If You Can Solve This Equation, You're Ready To Build Your Brand

Driving brand innovation is not easy, but it is simple--solve the Innovation Equation and your brand will grow.


7. The Big Problem with the Phrase “Add Value” in Content Marketing

So do yourself a favor. Don’t listen to the naysayers. Don’t pay attention to the internet police. Don’t allow your art—however you create it—to be squelched by those who feel they’ve been assigned the job of defining a phrase that simply has no tangible definition in the first place.


8. What Shake Shack Knows About Growth that McDonald’s Has Forgotten

The idea that organizational growth comes from doing a few things well is popular and proven.  But debate remains on how to direct your firm’s focus as you grow.


9. Why It's So Hard to Turn Fickle Millennials Into Leaders

In an era of job hopping and fast rises, how do you turn young talent into leadership?


10. Yes, You Do Have Time To Mentor--Here's How To Make The Most Of It

Mentoring is a way to be smart about investing in your future. Here's how to fit it into your busy life.

Click Here to view SummitTrek's 2014 Top Reads digital magazine (articles added monthly) via Flipboard on your computer, tablet or smartphone (iOS or Android).  Don't forget to hit Subscribe (upper left corner) once you open the magazine on your tablet or smartphone.

January Top 10 Reads

1. Let’s Get Physical

The digital must serve the physical, must support a real human experience that is truly remarkable. The digital era demands not only a vision for what’s possible right now but an equal focus on the timeless basics. Is your business ready to get physical in order to succeed in a digital world?


2. 5 Steps To Finding Your Focus

How do you find focus in a world that is noisy and chaotic? While it's easy to blame technology and co-workers, the answer might be found in the mirror.


3. 6 Steps To Redefining Your Brand In 2014

The world is filled with forgettable brands. Outrageous claims. Overly designed logos. How will your brand stand out in the new year?


4. Creating a Culture of Unconditional Love

Compassionate coaches are not just positive cheerleaders but also committed guides, conscious of the state and progress of their team and the individuals in it. They are also timely provocateurs, offering the right dose of tough love when necessary.


5. Does Your Brand (Gulp) Suck? How to Tell, and How to Fix It

We aren’t born with a good reputation -- it’s something we earn over time. And the same rings true for your business.  Your brand isn’t necessarily just a product of your marketing efforts and the messages that you put out to the world. It goes deeper than that. In fact, it’s based more off of what your customers and prospects believe about what you offer and stand for over anything else.

6. 3 Tips for Maintaining Focus for Business Owners

Entrepreneurs are always busy. But being effective is another story.


7. Nice Managers Embrace Conflict, Too

In the short-term, it’s almost always easier to avoid conflict and come across as being a “nice” manager. But more often than not, being a little less nice might be the best thing for your people, your organization, and you.


8. The Best Leaders Ask for More Feedback

It's not enough to just ask for feedback once. Research shows that the most effective leaders also follow one rule: Get lots of feedback.


9. Why Successful Habits Are About Structure, Not Effort

The number one driver of whether a habit change is a success or not is how big the initial goal is. Everyone, if they're consistent, will eventually achieve something massive. But the people that end up failing are the people trying to achieve overnight success.


10. Why Your Creativity Needs Boundaries to Thrive

Creative work takes a lot of time. And if you don't consciously set aside that time, it won't happen. That means finding balance and setting boundaries.

Click Here to view SummitTrek's 2014 Top Reads digital magazine (articles added monthly) via Flipboard on your computer, tablet or smartphone (iOS or Android).  Don't forget to hit Subscribe (upper left corner) once you open the magazine on your tablet or smartphone.